New Year, New Start?

It is a well-known fact that a surge in the number of couples enquiring about divorce happens every January. New Year follows a period when families come under added pressure. Spending more time than usual with extended family can be difficult, as can working out how to pay for Christmas celebrations during a cost of living crisis. The darker days and cold, winter weather do nothing to lift people’s spirits either. If a couple’s relationship is already strained, enforced jollity and more time spent in each other’s company than usual at Christmas and New Year can often be the final straw.

If you are considering separating from your spouse or civil partner this January, there are a number of things to consider. Not least to work out how any children or other dependents from the marriage or civil partnership will be affected going forward. New Year is traditionally a time for new beginnings, so it is wise to be as prepared as possible before embarking upon this new stage in your life. Here are some tips to help smooth the path towards seeking a divorce or separation in January or the early part of 2023.

Resolve to be happy in the new year

Before moving straight to divorce proceedings, it is often worth considering talking to a counsellor first. Alternatively, confiding in trusted friends or family members can provide helpful support and a different point of view. Otherwise, couples experiencing difficulties can engage the services of a family therapist to see if they can work through the relevant issues together.

If, however, you and your partner feel that the relationship really cannot be salvaged, despite the input of friends, family or professional support, it could be by far the best thing to set divorce proceedings in motion now. This can result in a sense of closure, allowing both parties to find peace, and happiness by going their separate ways.

young couple going to therapy in the new year to avoid separation and divorce

Start making changes now

Even before your divorce is finalised, you can begin to make positive changes to help you move closer to the life that you would like to lead from now on. If financers allow it, taking a short break or holiday can often help to clear the mind from stress and provide space to think things through. Aim to resolve as much conflict as possible with your partner early on, such as dividing up assets and funds and working out arrangements for each party to spend time with children and other dependents from the relationship.

Don’t forget to be gentle with yourself in all of this – divorce and separation can be highly stressful life events and it is important to look after your physical and mental health as best as you can while you are going through them. Try to eat properly, exercise regularly by making any changes that you deem necessary to your diet and physical routines to enable you to stay healthy and strong.

Seek legal advice sooner, rather than later

It is never too early to seek legal advice when planning a separation or divorce. You will need to work out what you want to happen, and how to progress via the correct legal channels. A family solicitor can also help you arrange medication, agree child support and access arrangements and calculate what needs to happen with the finances and other assets from the marriage or civil partnership. The sooner all of this can be finalised, or at least started, the smoother things will run when it’s time for the divorce papers to be signed and the union officially ended.

Get your legal paperwork in order

While your mind is on sorting out a divorce or separation, it is also worthwhile thinking about the rest of your life admin, such as making sure your Will is up to date. Following a separation, many people wish to change their Will, particularly which beneficiaries are included, and how various assets should be distributed after death. The same goes for inheritance tax arrangements – speak to a family law firm to see how your property can be set up to help reduce tax liabilities on it for your beneficiaries. Make January the month when you take control of your future and get in touch with Shortlands Solicitors to see how we can help.

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